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Establish your utility as an industry expert with support from content marketing

Posted by Michelle Keefe on April 21, 2015

There is one question that continually dogs utility marketers: How can we establish ourselves as an industry thought leader for energy information?

Some companies make the mistake of assuming that being the provider of a service automatically classifies them as an expert on that service in the eyes of their customers. This is not true. Companies, and especially utilities, must prove their expertise by making educational material available to their customers when they need it most. In other words, utility marketers need to be in the right place at the right time to make the most of their digital marketing efforts. Otherwise, marketers risk losing their customers to competitors.

Being in the right place at the right time means anticipating customers’ most pressing needs so that if they experience an appliance breakdown or a break in their services, they can get the information they seek right away. And who better to provide it than their utility?

Content marketing is solutions-based marketing. It works on multiple levels to increase engagement by equipping customers with applicable information about developments in your industry and updates to programs related to your business. This article demonstrates the power of content marketing and the results your utility can expect from the effort.

New Call-to-action Think of content marketing as a hub. When utility customers experience a service outage, the last thing they want to do is take a tour of your website to find the solution to their problem. It’s also true that not all customers prefer taking the customer-service route via an 800 number. These days, more and more customers are looking to troubleshoot their own problems by conducting research before they reach out to a contractor or their utility service provider.

Consider designating a single page on your utility’s website to house all your resource material. Think of this page as a library of sorts. The easier you make it for customers to search through archives and zero in on a solution, the better your chances of keeping them engaged and on your business’s website. The point is to condition your customers to view your utility as an expert. The more they succeed in finding what they need, the more they gain your trust. And customers will appreciate the convenience.

Creating a content marketing resource center for your utility is an excellent way to drive traffic to your website. By concentrating all the good stuff on a single page, customers will know exactly where they need to go for solutions and information. One utility in California experienced thousands of views to its website and articles after implementing a content marketing strategy. That same utility also rose to top search engine rankings on selected keywords within four months. Click here to learn more.

Don’t be afraid to mix it up. The solutions you offer can run the gamut. Don’t box yourself in by providing only one kind of source material. The solutions utility customers seek are not always so complicated or involved that they can’t be explained in a simple infographic or download. In addition to keyword-driven articles, consider adding other content like ebooks, guides, assessments, forms and more to help resolve any problems your customers are facing. Doing so not only proves your commitment to being the go-to source for all things energy-related but also gives you an upper hand over competitors.

When utility marketers consider how wide-ranging their customers’ preferences can be, it only makes sense to provide information in different formats. This also drives engagement. It’s much easier for marketers to connect with customers when they speak the same language, and offering different kinds of source material is another way utility marketers can showcase their commitment to anticipating their customers’ needs.

Mixing up the content of your digital marketing strategy can do wonders for your utility. Forms can help with data collection to populate email addresses, articles can clear up confusion around energy management, ebooks can provide a more in-depth look into practically any topic and infographics can educate without being heavy-handed. Downloadable content especially helped one utility exceed the conversion objective of users completing forms. Learn more here.

Continue your digital marketing efforts with post-content nurturing. While there’s no doubt that varied content increases engagement, utility marketers shouldn’t stop there. Utility marketers can assess the behavioral data they received through content marketing to further educate and engage business customers with follow-up email communications tied to a topic they’ve demonstrated an interest in.

It’s a fact that frequency lifts response, so stay on your customers’ radar by keeping in their line of sight. A series of informative emails about, say, HVAC maintenance, will come in very handy for the customer who’s looking to replace old equipment or hire an HVAC contractor. In a recent campaign, one utility engaged users through behaviorally driven trigger emails with a 40% click-through rate.

Although utilities provide essential services people rely on and use every day, they still struggle to engage their customers. But utility marketers can improve their digital marketing by housing relevant and instructive information on their website through content marketing. To learn more about how you can improve your utility marketing, check out our Content Marketing Assessment.
Learn how content marketing can help you meet your energy efficiency goals. Freee Utilities Energy Efficiency Content Marketing Analysis. Get starged.

Topics: Utility Industry

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